Pathways to  Illumination by Christy Birmingham

Just released and available exclusively at Redmund Productions.

This book is a collection of honest and fresh moments in the journey of a woman starting with her having been seduced into a toxic relationship and ending with her independent, happy, extricated and enlightened

The author uses original and contemporary metaphors to take us with her on her journey to enlightenment. Like little bytes of life. Birmingham steers clear of the trite in favor of multidimensional and crisp imagery and language.

Some of the poems are strong and short, packing a powerful punch. One of my favorites is


Moments on top of moments






And so we layer them like blankets

And huddle close for warmth,

While we look around for safety pins

And other ways to manage the moment.


And in


While I wrestle

Expertly woven words

Ripe and ready for picking.


the author parlays masterful metaphors with awesome alliteration, both of which make you want to feel the words roll off your tongue. Good poetry delights when spoken.

I am taken by her sensual use of comfort memories (“pruning my skin” in the bath) to that very experience.

I have always been tickled by the phrase “expiry date” and enjoyed her whimsical use of it in “When Life Entered Me”.

Overall, I found this to be a very pleasant read on a soft spring afternoon. I was rooting for the protagonist from the very start. By the end, I found myself smiling bigger and deeper smiles. While it has to be somewhat introspective, it still felt like moments, experiences, emotions that were very familiar to me, and included me, though I’m sure our lives have taken very different paths. It mattered to me, while reading it, whether these poems were born of personal experience or imagination.  Wonderful to find they rose from both.

A cathartic, informative picture of what a toxic relationship can do to us, it serves as both as a wakeup call to avoid such things, as well as a healthy path to disengage from them.

Highly recommended reading!